Moving on Up…

New position? New career? Lateral move? C-suite? Middle Management? New kid on the block?

You’ve accepted an opportunity and HR sends you a “love letter” that is 108 pages long. You think to yourself, do I really have to read this before signing it. Isn’t this just some generic paperwork akin to the Fine Print on the bottom of the form I just signed for my new refrigerator?

You should most certainly read that love letter. Even better, you should have an attorney review it. The relatively small cost that you will incur in hiring counsel may later save you significant funds at several junctures, for example, (1) at the time of hiring; (2) in the event of firing; (3) in the event of resigning; or (4) if your employer closes its doors.

Will my new position include health insurance benefits? For what portion of the premium am I responsible? Is this negotiable? Will my soon-to-be spouse be covered after our wedding in 6 months? Am I entitled to an annual bonus? If I voluntarily leave my position just before my bonus is due, will I receive it? Will my new employer have to pay my commissions that come in to the company after I have left? Is the proposed non-compete legitimate? Can my employer really restrict my work activities like that for the foreseeable future? Can I take the customers I am bringing to my new position with me? Can my old boss badmouth me on social media with no consequences? And, by the way, should I sign that aforementioned “love letter?”

You may wonder whether you will be a so-called contract employee or an employee-at-will, even if you have a written contract. This technicality could become very important if, for example, your dream job morphs into a nightmare or you decide to move cross country or return to school. Will leaving your job subject you to a breach of contract claim by your former employer to whom you may have to pay damages?

If you are reading this now as you are “moving on up” and cursing yourself for signing on the dotted line “blindfolded” for your previous job, all may not be lost. Allow us to review what you then signed and with any luck, you are better situated than you think. You may, for example, not realize that you have paid vacation for which you are entitled compensation under Massachusetts law. A little cash in your pocket while you ready yourself for your new adventure could be a nice, unexpected treat.

And if you happen to be reading this while in the process of searching for a new position, make sure you ask us about some of our important State laws such as Massachusetts’ progressive, and relatively new, Pay Equity Law and our Wage Act.

While reviewing employment contracts and related documents may seem arduous and time-consuming to you, at K&G, this type of work is one of our specialties. Let us help you out and pave the way for a rewarding and enjoyable new opportunity.

And for you employers who may be reading along, because of our extensive experience working with employees, we are in an ideal position to assist you in crafting employment agreements and non-competes that comport with your own business objectives. And don’t forget those Employee Manuals!

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